Thursday, May 1, 2008

More reasons war is bad...by Sybil Sage

Susan LeFevre, aided by family members, escaped from a Michigan prison in 1976, where she'd been serving time on heroin charges. For 32 years she's lived under an assumed identity in a suburb of San Diego, raising three children with her husband, who was never aware of her past.

An anonymous call tipping off Michigan authorities led to her capture, and she's now back in jail pending extradition from California to Michigan on an escape warrant. She told The Associated Press that she was 19 when arrested, had gotten into drugs after graduating from a Catholic high school, despondent that her teenage sweetheart had been killed in the Vietnam War. To avoid the embarrassment of a court trial, her parents urged her to plead guilty, leading to her getting a much stiffer sentence than the probation she'd anticipated.

This week -- with more grim death statistics coming out of Iraq -- we should consider the collateral damage of war. It goes beyond the obvious loss and trauma suffered by those who serve, their families and loved ones. If her story is true, shouldn't this woman be entitled to clemency?

I came across an episode of "Dateline," the series that pounces on predators they've lured online to a home of someone they expect will be an underage girl only to be interrogated by Chris Hansen and a camera crew, after which they're arrested. There's much about the show that's disturbing, but there was an added discomfort when two young guys they'd caught on camera said they served in Iraq. It's not impossible that their military service played a role in their abhorrent behavior. If so, shouldn't they be entitled, if not to leniency, to the dignity of privacy?

The White House finally admitted the Mission Accomplished flag was a mistake, but there's much more about this war that's a mistake.

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